Karnataka Election: ‘Kingmaker’ Kumaraswamy Takes Off to Singapore, Triggers Buzz of Post-Poll Negotiations

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Karnataka Election: ‘Kingmaker’ Kumaraswamy Takes Off to Singapore, Triggers Buzz of Post-Poll Negotiations


Bengaluru: JD(S) leader and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy boarded a flight for Singapore hours after polling ended for Karnataka election on Saturday, setting off speculation of post-poll negotiations.

Kumaraswamy, the son of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, is scheduled to be back in Bengaluru on the eve of Tuesday’s counting of votes.

Most exit polls have predicted hung House, with the JD(S) likely to emerge as kingmaker in the 224-member Assembly. Republic TV-Jan Ki Baat and ABP-C Voter predicted that the BJP will emerge as the single largest party by bagging 104 and 104-116 seats, respectively. The two news channels gave the incumbent Congress 78 and 83-94 seats, and the JD(S) 37 and 20-29 seats, respectively. Any party or alliance will need the support of 112 MLAs to form the new government.

“Leaders from both the Congress and the BJP are in touch with him (Kumaraswamy) and with Deve Gowda. I think he has gone there (Singapore) to meet them. If they meet here, news will be leaked to the media,” a close confidant of Kumaraswamy told News18.
When News18 contacted him over phone, Kumaraswamy refused to divulge any details, only saying, “I am taking rest for a day”.

Gowda, however, held late-night meetings with close aides at his residence, assuring them that no party could form the government without the JD(S). The former PM told News18 that he had never rested in his life and would be meeting people even on Sunday.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who was confident of the Congress returning to power was resting at his Mysore house. Speaking to News18, he said, “I will be at home and will spend some time with my family and grandchildren.”

The CM has dismissed exit polls as “entertainment” and asked his party workers and supporters to enjoy the weekend instead.

BJP state president and chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa returned to Bengaluru on Saturday evening after voting at Shikaripura in Shimoga. After holding late-night meetings with close aides on the possible post-poll scenarios, Yeddyurappa held a press conference on Sunday afternoon.

Talking to reporters, he, too, said the exit polls had got it wrong and reiterated that the BJP would form majority government, adding that he would take oath on May 17.

The high-stakes Karnataka election recorded a 70% voter turnout on Saturday. The last Assembly election in the southern state in 2013 had witnessed 71.4 per cent polling, the Election Commission said.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai





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